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S.T.E.A.M. Reads: Fiction

Check out this awesome list of S.T.E.A.M.-related fiction that the Alameda County Library has to offer!

 nick and tesla  Nick and Tesla’s solar-powered showdown : a mystery with sun-powered gadgets you can build yourself

by Bob Pflugfelder

Super-smart kid inventors Nick and Tesla Holt have outsmarted crooks, spies, and kidnappers, but now it’s time to crack their biggest mystery yet: where the heck are their parents? With the help of their eccentric Unc e Newt, the twins trace the clues to their missing Mom and Dad, scientists working on solar-power research for a clandestine government project.

 ruby goldberg  Ruby Goldberg’s bright idea

by Anna Humphrey

Ruby is determined to win the gold with her fifth-grade science fair project, a Rube Goldberg machine to help her grandfather, but the real prize turns out to be something completely unexpected.

 dive into  Dive into danger

by Kelly Halls

Fourteen-year-old Pudge spends most of his time in the basement avoiding his marine biologist father and playing World of Warcraft, but when missing school earns him a suspension and he joins his father at work, he must summon real courage to help a mother humpback whale.

 Wollstonecraft  Series: The Wollstonecraft Detective Agency

by Jordan Stratford

This fun mystery series imagines an alternate 1826 London, where Ada Lovelace (the world’s first computer programmer) and Mary Shelley (author of Frankenstein) meet as girls and form a secret detective agency.

 dot Dot

by Randi Zuckerberg

In her fascination with technology, a confident and spunky girl pays little attention to the outside world before learning how to make room for real things in ways that help her make the most of her savvy technical expertise. This picture book is a great way to talk about technology in our lives with young readers.

 life on mars Life on Mars

by Jennifer Brown
Twelve-year-old Arcturus Betelgeuse Chambers’ quest to find life on other planets seems at an end when his parents decide to move to Las Vegas, but while they look for a house he stays with his neighbor, an astronaut who soon becomes a friend.

 fractions Fractions = trouble!

by Claudia Mills

While trying to decide on a science fair project, third-grader Wilson struggles with fractions and, much to his embarrassment, his parents sign him up to work with a math tutor.

 full cicada  Full cicada moon

by Marilyn Hilton

In 1969 twelve-year-old Mimi and her family move to an all-white town in Vermont, where Mimi’s mixed-race background and interest in “boyish” topics like astronomy make her feel like an outsider.

 secret coders  Secret Coders

by Gene Luen Yang & Mike Holmes

Attending an elite school where enterprising students are challenged to solve a variety of clues and puzzles using computer programming, Hopper and her friend, Eni, resolve to crack the school founder’s most elusive mystery together. This graphic novel will definitely keep you entertained!

 seventh  The Seventh Most Important Thing

by Shelley Pearsall

In 1963, thirteen-year-old Arthur is sentenced to community service helping the neighborhood Junk Man after he throws a brick at the old man’s head in a moment of rage, but the junk he collects might be more important than he suspects. Inspired by the work of American folk artist James Hampton. Recommended for grades 4-7.

 Therese  Thérèse Makes a Tapestry

by Alexandra Hinrichs

When Therese’s father, a court painter for King Louis XIV, gives her a beautiful painting, she decides to weave it into a tapestry for him, and is surprised to find it on display in the palace courtyard alongside the works of great artists.

 eliza  My Explosive Diary

by Emily Gale

Eliza Boom is the daughter of a spy gadget inventor who hopes to create a great invention like her father, but first she needs to get a roll of her father’s top-secret film back from the class bully Zoe Wakefield.

 benji  Benji Franklin : kid zillionaire

by Raymond Bean

This compilation of two separately published works tells the story of Benji Franklin, a twelve-year-old genius who becomes an overnight zillionaire after writing a computer application that generates excuses–and soon discovers that a lot of people want him to solve their problems.

 8th  The 8th Continent

by Matt London

Hoping to transform a giant floating garbage patch into a habitable eighth continent where people can escape an oppressive bureaucracy, Evie and Rick must race against time when a plastic-obsessed villainess tries to claim the continent to expand her power.




S.T.E.A.M. Reads: Engineering

Take a look at this list of books about the exciting field of engineering:


designthinking Design Thinking

by Kristin Fontichiaro

Have you heard of the “Design Thinking” process? Learn about this approach to solving problems used by engineers and designers alike.


 desin Key discoveries in engineering and design

by Christine Zuchora-Walske

 building bridges  Series: Great Engineering

by Rebecca Stefoff

Whether it’s tunnels, roads, bridges, dams, or skyscrapers that interests you, this series has a different volume for each, packed with information to inspire you. Chock full of interesting examples in full color photos, you’ll be sure to learn something fun about architecture or civil engineering.

 top stem  Top STEM Careers in engineering

by Gina Hagler

For the advanced young reader or ambitious middle schooler. It’s never too early to start exploring career options! See what real-life engineers do in the field today. (Note: this book is found in the teen collection)

 genetic eng  Genetic Engineering

by Michael Burgan


 robotics  Series: 21st Century Careers: Cool STEAM Careers

by various authors

Three books in this series that focus on engineering are: Wastewater Engineer, Robotics Engineer, Petroleum Engineer. Be sure to check out some of the other careers in this series just for fun: Smoke Jumper, Cyber Cop, Storm Chaser, Medical Illustrator and more!

 max axiom  The incredible work of engineers with Max Axiom, super scientist

by Agnieszka Biskup

Learn about engineering through the adventures of Max Axiom in this fun graphic novel!

S.T.E.A.M. Reads: Women in Science

Throughout the month of May, we’ll be highlighting some recommended reading related to STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math. In this second part, we’ll be looking at books that the Alameda County Library has to offer about women in science!

Check out the awesome list below.

 cool women  

Engineering : cool women who design

by Vicki May


 womensteel Women of steel and stone : 22 inspirational architects, engineers, and landscape designers

by Anna Lewis

 techwomen Technology : cool women who code

by Andi Diehn




 Major Women in Science Series

by Shaina Indovino and Kim Etinghoff

The series “Major Women in Science” has a different volume for each field of science including engineering, environmental sciences, chemistry, physics, anthropology, space, inventions, and more. Find the full list (including some in ebook format) here.


 compeng Computer engineer Ruchi Sanghvi

by Laura Waxman


Aerospace engineer Aprille Ericsson

by Laura Waxman

 girlsresearch  Girls research!

Amazing Tales of Female Scientists

by Jennifer Phillips

S.T.E.A.M. Reads: Minecraft

Throughout the month of May, we’ll be highlighting some recommended reading related to STEAM: science, technology, engineering, art and math. In this first part, we’ll be looking at some of the newer Minecraft books that the Alameda County Library has to offer!

If you think Minecraft is just a game, guess again. Minecraft can be an incredible tool for teaching in a classroom or for self-guided exploratory learning. Because of the open-ended nature of the game, the possibilities really are endless. Whether you’re obsessed with the game, a budding engineer, or a just a curious parent looking to understand the hype, there’s something at the library to help you out. Check out the list below.


Minecraft : an unofficial guide with new facts and commands

A guide for beginner and intermediate players alike, written by 19-year-old German YouTube personality and Minecraft expert, ConCrafter.




Minecraft creator Markus “Notch” Persson

For an interesting biography on a leader in the STEM field, read this book with your kids. Markus Persson designed his first computer game when he was just eight years old. Learn how Persson’s love of computers and design helped him the popular video game Minecraft.




Mods, hacks for minecrafters : the unofficial guide to tips and tricks that other guides won’t teach you

Don’t let words like modding and hacking scare you! This book will take you beyond the basics and teach you tips and tricks to modifying, tweaking and customizing your Minecraft experience.




The ultimate unofficial encyclopedia for Minecrafters : an A-Z book of tips and tricks the official guides don’t teach you

This book is packed with images and descriptions to get you up to speed on everything Minecraft!




Minecraft: Beginner’s Guide

The first volume of this well put together series by Innovation Library is an awesome visual guide for the total beginner. If you’re not sure where to start with Minecraft, this title’s for you.




Hilarious jokes for Minecrafters : mobs, creepers, skeletons, and more

For the Minecraft enthusiast who likes to have a good time. You’ll be laughing it up at this humorous collection of Minecraft jokes.




Minecraft mods programming : absolute beginner’s guide

The title says it all! This is for the absolute beginner. No experience necessary to get started with Minecraft Mods.





On Our Side

Happy Poetry Month! Happy California Native Plant Week!! Happy Earth Day!!!

It’s all in your hands…



Long ago in 1969, a poet named Kenneth Koch wrote “…the flowers came out, and they were on our side….”

Back then, many people wanted to change the world and stop bullying each other with wars and guns and bombs. They sang about peace and being on the same side instead of different sides.


They were Flower Children with Flower Power! (Besides their groovy ideas, they wore cool clothes!)



But it wasn’t only about “Looo-king Gooood!” It was about being aware! We started celebrating Earth Day in 1970 to raise awareness about caring for our planet and protecting its fauna (animals) and flora (plants).

Humans are a type of fauna, all 7.4 Billion of us! Check out the Earth’s Population Our species has grown very rapidly at the same time that other species of animals and plants have disappeared or are threatened. People can adapt or change their behavior to help other species survive. Each year on April 22, we celebrate our interconnectedness with other living things. We think about our place in the circle of life on earth.


It’s a great day to say, “Far Out! I’m like a Flower!” Flowers don’t bloom for long, but when they come out, they’re really beautiful. Rare or common, standing alone or thronging in a field, each one says, “Look at me. I’m amazing.”

Just like a bee landing on a pollen-dusted bloom, the amazing-ness of flowers rubs off on us. A famous California writer, John Steinbeck, wrote: “Then there were harebells, tiny lanterns, cream white and almost sinful looking, and these were so rare and magical that a child, finding one, felt singled out and special all day long.”


East of Eden (1952)

Be a flower-child! Play outside in the yard. Run down the street. Walk across a field or take a trail.

When you get home, color some of these Flower Coloring Pages. Coloring Book compressed

Try this word search to find the names of flowers: wildflowers_word_find

If you want more information about California wildflowers, check out the links on this website! US Wildflowers – California


Ribsy Rescue Stories!

Happy Birthday to author, Beverly Cleary, who turns 100 on April 12, 2016. Long ago in 1950, she wrote a story called Henry Huggins.

Henry met Ribsy at a store in Portland, Oregon as he was walking home from school. Ribsy was a very hungry stray dog whose ribs were showing. Henry saw Ribsy wagging his tail and looking up at him. Henry decided to take the dog home on the city bus and that’s where the fun begins!



Did you ever rescue an animal and bring it home? Tell us where it happened, why you chose to help, and what you called your pet when you got home. Send us a picture of your pet. We will publish pictures and stories at the end of April on this blog to celebrate Beverly Cleary’s 100th Birthday!

For more birthday fun, Drop Everything And Read a book on April 12th! Beverly Cleary was a children’s librarian and wrote Henry Huggins for kids who visited the library and wanted books about “boys like us.” Cleary continued to create stories for kids whose stories needed to be told. You probably know Ramona Quimby (Ramona and Beezus books), Leigh Botts (Dear Mr. Henshaw) and many more.


Here are some park sculptures of Henry, Ribsy and another favorite Cleary character: Ramona Quimby playing in the water! (Portland, Oregon)

Here are two rescue stories. If Ribsy had lived in the city today, he might be found in an animal shelter. That’s where Leigh found Siggy and knew this dog was the right choice for her. Now Siggy leads the way on hikes in the hills and fetches sticks.


Turtles like to warm themselves in the sun. What’s sunnier than the yellow line in the middle of a busy road? Robert rescued this turtle and called it, Silly Turtle. He took the turtle to a nearby stream. Some rescuers don’t keep animals as pets, but return them to their wild homes. What will you do when it’s your turn to…RESCUE?


Wookies and Smurfs say…




Find more funny stuff in your library’s Mad Magazine.


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